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Short story of METRO SOCIETY: A Journey In Paris

Paris, France - 1996.
(King of His Own World) Track 1

On a busy street backed up with cars, delivery trucks, and motorcycles, a police car tries to weave its way in and out of traffic. Michael's eyes snap open as the blaring sound of the police siren passes by him. He strains his eyes to look at his surroundings as he listens to the siren fade away down the street. He is very groggy and not fully awake. He feels the glass in his hand tilt over and hit the table with a loud clink! He rushes to pick the glass up before any of the drink can spill out, but the table is completely dry. There is only a few drops left of the amber liquid swimming at the bottom of the tipped over glass. He looks around and sees the other patrons of the cafe looking over at him. He pays them no mind. He has been getting used to people giving off odd stares in his direction since he arrived in Paris. He wonders just how long he has been here. A day, a week, a month? He has been having a hard time remembering things lately. Not that the drinking helps. Michael lifts the glass to his lips and sips the remaining drops. He still feels the same: numb with his senses dull. He asks the passing waiter for another drink, but the waiter passes him by as if he didn't hear him at all. "Rude bastard," Michael says under his breath. Michael stands up and takes in the view of the busy street in front of him.
He doesn't remember coming to this cafe and drinking. He can't remember waking up this morning. He can barely remember her face or the words that she wrote. He had loved her more than he cared to say. It hurt him too much to think about her. They were to meet in Paris. They had planned it for months. He waited for her at the airport, but she never showed up. Worried, he made phone calls to find out where she was at. Maybe something happened to her. Maybe she had an accident. When he had finally received her letter months later, he got the news that she was leaving him to marry another man. He promised himself that he would never again allow himself to fall for anyone as much as he did for her. She left him and he hated her. He never left Paris.

Michael begins to sway as he stands next to his table at the cafe. He catches his balance and takes a moment to gather his thoughts. As he starts to walk away, Michael stops short and quickly leans out of the way as two young men in their very early twenties walk past in front of him. From their accents, he can tell they are Americans. He can barely make out what they are talking about. Something about being lost and trying to find Notre Dame Cathedral. "Good luck guys," he says to himself as he knows the two are heading in the wrong direction. "At least I'm not the only one who is lost."

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(Voices Inside Of Me) Track 2

Michael walks the city streets for what seems like forever. He finds himself outside the Louvre and decides to take a look at the paintings. Inside the Louvre, Michael walks through the stretching halls of the gallery of paintings. He passes countless rows of paintings and sometimes stops long enough to allow himself to drift onto the canvas itself.

He feels a slight nudge on his arm. He barely notices her standing next to him. He turns to find a beautiful woman who looks to be in her mid-twenties standing next to him. "Beautiful painting isn't it?" she asked him. She continues unanswered, "So much pain, darkness, and loss. But the background colors give off a sense of hope. As if it is trying to say 'even when we're surrounded in darkness, we will find a way.'" She walks away giving small glances behind her. Keeping his distance, he follows her. He keeps catching her eyes from across the hallways. Something about her eyes holds him to her stare. He is curious about her. Why did she speak to him? Who is she? They continue this little game of cat and mouse through the halls of the Louvre. He begins to think that this is just another trick from another heartbreaking woman. He starts to turn away when he hears the voice in his head telling him to go over to her and to seize the moment. He walks up to her, but before he can say anything, she turns to him and says, "Are you following me, sir?" Shocked at first, he stammers a bit. He did not expect this reaction. He quickly recovers and says "Well, I did notice that you were... of course I was looking at you. I was checking to see if you were following me. You can never be too safe in a city like this. You never know what might be behind you." A brief silence falls between them. He begins to speak, but is cut off by her. "So, do you like artwork?" He pauses before saying, "Depends on the painting." "This one here depicts the ancient Greek myth of Persephone and Hades," she tells him. She turns to look at him and asks him, "Do you have a name?" He responds coldly, "Does it matter?" "Mystery man, eh?" She smiles a sly grin. "Well, my name is Anna."

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(Welcome Hope) Track 3

Michael thinks about Anna all the time now. Even when she is not around he can see her face and hear her voice. He feels a sense of hope for the first time that he can love again. More importantly, he starts to feel that maybe he will not be alone anymore. He is lowering his guard. He wants to tell her everything and to share his thoughts with her. He is worried though. He does not want to make the same mistakes and get too close to her. She has told him that she wants to take things slow as well, but she won't say why. She always seems to comfort him and tells him that she is truly happy being with him and that she has not felt this happy in a very long time.

(Hills Will Roll) Track 4

They have been spending a lot of time together. The days feel like they pass within a blink of an eye. Still, there is something about Anna that Michael can't figure out. The closer he gets to her, she seems to pull away. He wants her to confide in him and tell him what is bothering her, but she never does. At times, Anna seems paranoid and makes odd statements. She even tells Michael that she's had dreams about a little girl and that the girl is trying to tell her something. She feels like she should know who this little girl is, but cannot figure it out. They carry on day to day pretending that everything is fine and will work out. One day Anna breaks the facade and finally tells Michael that she had been involved with someone before she met him. She thought this other man was the love of her life and that she promised him her heart without holding back. She tells him that they were planning on getting married and then struggles with her words. With some difficulty, she can only manage to say the words ""hit me" and "like an animal." She begins to break down. Anna tells Michael that she had to leave. She tells him that she trusts Michael and wanted to tell him the truth of why she has been holding back her feelings from him. Michael struggles with the news. He has been feeling an anger growing inside of him since she first began telling him her story. Michael feels the rage about to consume him. He struggles within. He looks and sees Anna weeping in front of him. He can see how much pain she is in. He realizes how petty he is being and that he is just being jealous. She wants to be with him. He pulls her close to him. He begins to comfort her and tells her that he will protect her now. He tells her that, "We are together and that's all that matters." He continues to hold her and speaks softly in her ear. He tells her, "I will always be here for you." He lifts her face up to his and kisses her. She clings to him tightly. Michael looks into her eyes and tells her "I love you." For a brief second, Anna stops crying and remains motionless. She stares back at him, "Michael...I'm so sorry. I can't do this." She breaks away from him sobbing and starts to run away. Confused, Michael stands in place watching her run down the street. He hears a voice in his head telling him to "go after her." Michael takes off with Anna in sight. He sees her run around a corner and follows. By the time Michael turns the corner, Anna is no where to be seen. He calls out her name but no one calls back.

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(Within A Moment) Track 5

She sits across from him at the small cafe table. He can tell that she has been crying. Her mascara leaves black streak marks down her cheeks. Michael can feel the crumpled up letter in his front coat pocket that Anna left for him asking him to meet her here at this cafe. He had given up trying to phone her after days of no one answering. Earlier this morning, he had been passed out at a bar. He must have been there all night. He awoke to find an envelope lying on the table in front of him. Michael speaks first without looking at her. "You seemed to have found me easy enough" he says holding her letter up. "You were easy to find," she says trying to hold back tears. "I wish I could say the same," he says coldly to her. She tells him that this is hard enough as it is and that if he could only understand. She begins to tell him how scared she was of falling for the wrong guy again. Not wanting to be the one who is left again, he tells her that she means nothing to him. He wants to hurt her. He wants her to feel worse than what he is feeling right now. He can feel the rain starting to hit his face. He tells her that he never wants to see her again and that she was only a cheap stop on his tour of Paris. She throws her drink at him and hits him in the face. He stands and stares at her. He is completely lost for words. He knows deep down that if he walks away their relationship is over, but he cannot stop the dark thoughts swimming around in his brain. He takes in a deep breath, turns, and begins to walk away. He can hear her crying in the rain. From the corner of his mind, Michael can barely hear a small voice telling him to go back. Michael stops in the middle of the street. Maybe he's not too late. Maybe he still has time to say he's sorry. He turns around hoping to see Anna still there at the table. Instead he finds an empty table. The rain continues to fall. Feeling guilty and depressed, Michael turns around and starts to walk again.

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(Torment) Track 6

Michael walks the rainy streets of Paris in a state of numbness. He doesn't even realize where he is going and he doesn't care. He can hardly feel the cold rain on his face. He keeps running the scene over and over in his head. Why did everything have to happen this way? He continues walking until he runs into a sign pole. He looks up and sees that the pole is attached to a sign that reads Metropolitan. Michael sees the set of concrete stairs leading downward into the Metro Station and can hear the screeching of the metallic wheels of the Metro subway car.

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(Metro) Track 7

Michael wonders down into the dreary Metro station. The walkways are only partially lit from the single light fixture that has not been broken yet. Michael walks deeper into the walkways passing the faces of homeless people. Almost as if he is in a dream, Michael steps into the nearest Metro car and sits down by one of the windows. All he can hear is the sound of her voice in his head. The train starts down the tracks and Michael continues to stare out the windows. As the train picks up speed, Michael replays the memories of what happened with Anna. The train passes through the dark subway tunnels. The faster the train goes, the faster and angrier his thoughts get. Michael is becoming consumed with darkness. All he can feel is hate and anger. He sees faces as the train passes by the waiting stations. The train seems to be traveling so fast that the faces stretch to resemble the look of demons. Michael could not tell if the train was making stops or not. He didn't care. He wanted everyone to go away and leave him alone to brood by himself. Michael closes his eyes hard and leans his head against the window. He opens his eyes to see that the train has stopped and no one else is on the train. He can hear an announcement on the overhead speaker. Something in French that he can't quite make out. Something about the "end of the line."

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(Purgatory) Track 8

Still sitting on the Metro car, Michael can hear the faint sounds of music from the station's tunnels. Fighting against the desire to just stay, Michael pulls himself up from his seat and leaves the Metro car. He feels drained of all his energy. As he looks around to see where the music is coming from. Michael takes a glance into the dark subway tunnel. For a moment he sees a pair of large red eyes gleaming back at him and he gets a cold shiver running down his back. Quickly, Michael rubs his eyes and tries to refocus. He looks back only to see a pair of red lights lighting the interior of the tunnel. Michael walks along the loading platform and heads into the nearest exit corridor. He wonders down the station's corridors searching for the source of the music. Michael rounds a corner and sees the corridor open up into a large flat area with a grand staircase heading upwards past the room's ceiling. Michael cannot make out the top staircase due to the bright sunlight shining down from the opening. He tells himself that the rain must have stopped. Michael looks around the large flat room and sees an old man dressed in ragged clothes playing an old beat up violin. The old man waves him over. Michael walks over to the old man and sees just how tired looking the man is. The old man tells him "it's a good thing that you got off of that train. Those trains will keep you here in the dark forever. If you don't pull yourself together, you'll end up down here like me. I got stuck down here years ago and this is all that is left of me...all that's good anyway." The old man gives Michael an odd smirk. "If you don't leave now, you'll never have the courage to go on. You will stay down here hoping that one day you will figure out everything...or that one day she will find you. But she never will." Michael soaks in what the old man said. Confused, he replies, "She? I didn't do you..." "It's always a she isn't it? Well, that's what happened to me anyway." Michael looks into the eyes of the old man. They seem faded and sad. A large group of people exiting from the following train enter the area and head up the stairs. "None of them care. They'll pretend that they can't see you, but they know you're here. They hear the music but they walk with their eyes down. They don't want to see," says the old man. The people finally file out and Michael is left with the old man again. "Why don't you just leave this place?" Michael asks him. "I can't, there is nothing for me up there. I threw away my chances years ago. We all did," the old man darts his eyes around the room behind Michael.

Michael turns around and for the first time notices that he is not alone with the old man. Michael sees a host of sad looking faces glancing over at him. "Ahhh, but you see them don't you? Just like me they are lost and they will stay here. You are going down the same path I can tell. You remind me of me many years ago. You have a chance to leave. There is so much left for you up there," the old man points up the stairs. Michael feels a slight pull on his hand and looks down to see a very sad looking girl with amber colored hair trying to lead him away. The girl is dressed in what looks like a faded nightgown with many holes in it. Stunned, Michael says, "She looks so young." "Age is not a factor here," says the old man "but even she knows that she has nothing up there." The little girl pulls Michael towards the stairway and points up towards the exit. Michael tells the girl to come with him. With a sad smile, she shakes her head no and wipes away a tear. Michael looks back to say thank you to the old man, but he has already walked down the corridor playing his violin. Michael turns to the little girl and tells her, "Thank you. Please tell him thank you for me." The little girl replies in a very soft voice, "He knows." Michael leans down and gives her a hug. He turns and begins his walk up the stairway into the bright sunlight.

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(Lost In Paris) Track 9

Michael walks out into the crowded sunlit Paris street. The rain has stopped and has left a grey color to the buildings that the sun is slowly clearing away. He can see that he is across the river from Notre Dame Cathedral. He decides to head there and crosses the bridge over the Seine River.

Michael can see the faces of the statues and stained glass portraits staring down at him from Notre Dame. He wonders to himself, "How could I lose her in one day? Yesterday, I had everything." He has spent the day wandering through his thoughts. As the sun begins to set he enters the cathedral, but even the serene surroundings cannot ease his mind. He walks the worn stone path around the interior of the old cathedral. He notices all of the people that are sitting in the rows and praying. Michael over-hears a woman praying for the soul of her dead husband. Thinking to himself "That's how I feel: dead inside." Michael tilts his head upward to the high ceiling. He wonders if there really is something up there listening. He feels like he is living in his own personal hell. Then Michael gets a thought in his head. His eyes start to race around the rows of people praying. He starts to wonder why he came in here in the first place. Was he drawn here for some reason? Michael begins to feel the walls close in around him. He can't take it anymore. He has to get out of the cathedral. Michael runs out of the doors across the courtyard of Notre Dame and into the cool night air. The streets of Paris swallow him and send him on a mindful reflection of what has transpired. Thought provoking and heart wrenching, he searches the misled feelings deep inside himself. He starts to realize that he is lost: both in his mind and in Paris. He starts to blame Anna for everything that has happened to him, but soon comes to realize that he is really afraid of being alone and this is the true cause of his pain. He has to allow himself to see the truth and fight past his own demons. Slowly Michael allows the guilt to subside and starts to think through everything. Michael goes through the people he has met in the last few weeks and puts the pieces together. Anna, the Old Man, and the Little Girl. This is what Anna was trying to tell him. They were the only people he met.

The only people he talked to. The only people who talked to him. He begins to understand. He wonders what is next for him. Michael follows the sidewalk and turns the corner to see that he was only a short distance from Notre Dame. Believing all was once lost, a comfort takes him as we returns to the surroundings of the cathedral. The night has passed by with fresh new colors breaching the morning horizon. He walks past the cathedral looking back at the judging eyes. He knows now why they are looking at him. He finds the concrete stairs that lead down to the walkway next to the river and follows them down. He walks up to the river's edge and stares into the dark murky water. He can see his reflection in the water. So he stands at a turning point. He can either except his fate to be alone or try to find her again. Michael makes up his mind and walks back up the stairs and onto the streets.

Michael's eyes snap open as the blaring sound of a police siren passes by him. He strains his eyes to look at his surroundings as he listens to the siren fade away down the street. He is very groggy and not fully awake. He has been having a hard time remembering things lately. He doesn't remember coming to this cafe and drinking. He can't remember waking up this morning. He wonders just how long he has been here.

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Epilogue: Deep under the surface of the dark water of the Seine, a soldier's uniform from World War Two sways with the current. The body that once used to wear the uniform has long since rotted away and only skeletal pieces remain. An apparent victim of an accidental drunken drowning during the victory celebrations in Paris, the uniform now remains alone at the bottom of the river. Across one of the uniform's front jacket lapel a name is stenciled: M. Anderson.




Residual haunting:
Thought by some to be a replayed haunting. Much like a video tape, residual hauntings are playbacks of auditory, visual, olfactory, and other sensory phenomenon which are attributed to a traumatic event, life-altering event, or a common event of a person or place, like an echo of past events. Residual hauntings often center on moments of intense emotion: someone's beheading, a great battle, a murder, or even a celebration. Paranormal researchers theorize that residual hauntings are the result of discharged personal energy of a person or group of people being imprinted on the surrounding environment, most commonly at or just after death. An investigator will tell you there is nothing they can do about this style haunting and they are correct. People need to either except what happens and learn to deal with it, or move on.


Intelligent Haunt:
In this style of haunting the entity or entities are aware of their surroundings. Most of the time you will find that these spirits are not confined to one spot, they can move around freely. Also, they will acknowledge the existence of human beings and even try to communicate in certain ways. They are limited in what they can do. Most of the time they only move very light objects but they have been known to move objects up to around 10lbs. They are looking for people to notice them but they end up scaring people a great deal instead. These spirits can be benevolent or mischievous, depending on the reason that they are haunting a location, and there are several reasons. They may be there because they've found that a child is able to see them so they feel noticed and are willing to stay around for this fact. They also may be looking for something or someone. They may even not be willing to except that they have died. Whatever the reason may be, they are there and they do not want to leave.

copyright 2007 Metro Society